Real Madrid confirmed its status as one of the teams to beat in the 2008-09 Euroleague by thrashing Panionios On Telecoms 87-66 in the Spanish capital in Group D on Thursday. Madrid faces Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia, next week, while Panionios welcomes Euroleague defending champion CSKA Moscow. Quinton Hosley paced the winners with 17 points. Felipe Reyes added 16 in just 17 minutes while Jeremiah Massey had 10 for Madrid. Goran Nikolic and Ioannis Georgalis each had 12 points and Levon Kendall had 10 for the guests. Hosley and Reyes combined for 17 points in the opening quarter to give Madrid a 26-21 edge after 10 minutes. Panionios used a 0-7 run to get a brief 28-29 edge, but Reyes and Sergio Llull stepped up to help Madrid regain a safe 44-37 halftime margin. Madrid improved its defense after the break and got its frontcourt involved to break the game open, 63-47, late in the third quarter, enough for the hosts to cruise to a well-deserved win.
The game off to a slow, physical start, which Reyes took advantage of to draw a foul and score from the line. Nikolic had some early confidence scoring inside and from beyond the arc to give Panionios a 3-7 advantage. Pepe Sanchez soon took control of the Madrid offense, setting up Axel Hervelle and Reyes as the hosts tied the game. And a basket-plus-foul – Lonny Baxter’s second in less than five minutes – on the offensive glass by Reyes pushed Madrid in front, 10-8. A Baxter slam evened the score and the two big men traded baskets once more before Hosely’s three-point play started to get Madrid rolling. Hosley and Hervelle turned a broken play into a basket and Hosely followed with a steal and a layup to push the hosts’ cushion to 20-13. Georgallis answered from downtown only to see a Sanchez-to-Hosley alley-oop get the home crown involved. Panionios didn’t take notice and a Nikolic three and a basket by Yanis Giannoulis narrowed the gap before Jeremiah Massey’s first basket made it 26-21 after 10 minutes.
Ioannis Kalampokis and Georgallis set the stage for Kendall, who scored twice from close range to put Panionios ahead 28-29. Llull and Raul Lopez answered with threes that kept the momentum white. Kendall scored again to make it 36-33, however that’s when Madrid made its move. Reyes free throws started an 8-0 run that put the hosts up 11. A Llull slam and a Hosley layup with a minute left till halftime pushed Panionios to the wall. But the visitors kept their composure as baskets by Nikolic and Aaron Miles allowed Panionios to stay within 44-37 at the halftime break.
Like in the first half, the teams took time to feel each other out early in the third quarter. Louis Bullock’s runner and a Massey baskey off a spin move put Madrid up 11 again. Nikolic scored Panionos’s first points of the half after nearly three minutes only to see a Reyes basket-plus-foul – Baxter’s fourth! – push the lead to 51-39. Another Bullock bucket and Reyes free throws capped an 11-2 start to the period and put Madrid firmly in control. After a Panionos timeout, Kalampokis took over with a huge three-pointer and Branko Cvetkovic added a layup-plus-foul to give Panionios some hope at 57-45. Lazaros Papadopoulos scored inside and then followed Massey's follow-up layup with a big dunk that gave the hosts a 63-47 lead. Sanchez took over with a driving layup and soon added free throws and even when Miroslav Raicevic beat the buzzer with a layup, it only brought Panionios within 67-52 after 30 minutes.
Hosley showed his physical skills with a power layup early in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Panionios needed a quick comeback to get back in the game, but it didn't happen, as the guests struggled to score for more than three minutes. Llull fired in one from downtown, making Panionios call timeout at 72-52 with six minutes to go. The outcome was already clear, but both teams kept working hard to have the best situation in multiple-tie situations. Georgalis scored in penetration and Miles added a floating layup, but Lopez answered with a three-pointer to seal the outcome. Venson Hamilton was welcomed with a standing ovation in his first Euroleague game in almost a year. Bullock also his from downtown, Hosley added a monster dunk and Javier Perez found his first Euroleague points to round a perfect night for Madrid in its Euroleague opener.
Thursday, October 23, 2008